Friday, May 28, 2010

What is a creationary?

A creationary is a space to be creative with the lectionary. It is not a sermon. Rather it is what happens when a restless mind reads the Biblical text. It is the linkages that could be made between the text and various bits of the worship service, questions that could be explored, tactile ways to engage people around the text, songs and videos, poetry, spirituality2go ideas that begin to form.  The creationary is a space to be creative with the lectionary.

The creationary is a regular feature I want to keep to the foreground both in my life and in the life of this blog-site.

There are some personal reasons for this. As a pastor for the last 14 years, I enjoyed (most of the time), the Sunday rhythm of regular engagement with the Biblical text in preparation for worship. The week started with reading the text and there was a creativity about that process. Alas, in the strange ways of God, I’m still in ministry, but no longer (currently) in congregational ministry. So the disciplines have begun to change. Yet in preparing for a recent Ascension service at College chapel, I realised how much I am nourished and find creativity when I engage with the text. I wonder if I can keep in that creative space, even if there is no Sunday outline.

In addition, this blog still gets lots of visits from people looking for creative worship ideas. A 2004 Pentecost worship experience got a lot of hits last week.

And there are lots of creative worship treats buried in the archives of this blog, years of ministry, which readers might appreciate.

For example, in regard to Trinity Sunday:

  • a worship idea here
  • a kids talk on Rublevs icon here
  • some Trinitarian art reflections here
  • a Trinity tryptch takeaway idea here.

All on this blog, all potentially useful.

Hence the creationary is a space to be creative with the lectionary.  I’m adding a new category, and as a category that runs across the top of the blog. And every Monday I am going to seek to craft some time to read the lectionary texts for the Sunday coming, and to blog some of my thoughts. It might be a list of links as above. It might be some fresh ideas and sparks. If I’ve worked on a certain lectionary text before, I will try and engage with another of the suggested readings for the Sunday coming. I won’t promise to do this every week, but I think it will be pattern that will be good for my ongoing spiritual nourishment. And perhaps in the mercy of God, it might spark more creativity in you my readers.

Posted by steve at 03:30 PM

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ascension worship: the footprints of Jesus

I enjoyed how Ascension day chapel worship shaped up today. I always find it hard to put worship experiences into words, but for what it’s worth here are some of the pieces. The Biblical spark was the Ascension and in reflecting on the text I was struck by the idea of Ascension as the departing feet of Jesus. Real feet, now leaving.

That provided a working tactile image, footprints. And then the madly, obvious idea, to have footprints, and to invite people to stand in these footprints of Jesus. This was achieved prior by painting some barefeet, and then walking over 3 metre long strips of frostcloth. (The kids absolutely loved giving me a hand with this part!) When it dried, they looked great. Very simple. Very effective. One set of footprints were in colour.

The other set were in black.

This allowed multiple stations:

  • the black footprints; the Ascension as the absence of Jesus and so the invitation to stand on the (dried) footprints and pray for ourselves and for others we know who experience God as absent.
  • the colour footprints, reflecting on the impact of the footprints of Jesus, who had walked with and among the disciples. I laid, face down, beside each colour footprints, various cards from the Jesus deck (I got my deck here some years ago and it was great to get a chance to use them). So, if people chose to participate, there was a real sense of mystery about which card they would choose and thus which story of Jesus they might engage with.

The colour had another layer. I had started by offering cut up paint chips from paint charts, and the invitation for people, as they arrived, to choose a colour that symbolised their week. As part of our call to worship we shared our chips with each other. Fun, interactive, but an essential part of gathering ourselves as real people, with real stories – and of course the living “colourful” stories of Jesus continuing today.

Around this was woven the usual frame – praise, confession, Bible readings both Old Testament and New Testament, passing the peace, affirmation of faith, sermon, communion, benediction.  For those interested, I’ll place the order of service below.

For me, I had quite profound encounters at both stations. The Jesus deck card I turned up was just bang on the nail in terms of my struggle to follow Jesus at the moment. So bang on the nail it was almost spooky. (more…)

Posted by steve at 06:54 PM